Maralys Wills has published 12 books in different genres. (Courtesy of Carmen Ulloa)
Insecurities, inexperience, and a lack of guidance challenge students who wish to pursue writing careers.
Regardless of educational background, many students share the interest of writing fiction or non fiction.
“I think definitely that my confidence level plays an important role in writing and selling my screenplay. I must be confident,” said Alex Little, 21, acting and film. “I need to be determined and stay positive if I choose to follow my dream.”
Some students don’t know how to get started and to acquire successful habits that will help them achieve their goals. “My biggest challenge is staying focused and getting in the habit of writing every day,” said Jessa Patience, 19, psychology and English literature. ” I am scared of the publishing process once I finish my book, what if they don’t like it?”
Others fear writer’s block.
“Losing inspiration scares me. To start writing and not being able to continue half way through the book or end it too soon because of that,” said Cody Goodwin, 20, journalism. “What would happen if I lose the moment and cannot keep writing?”
A former student, creative-writing instructor and author Maralys Wills has published 12 books in different genres, and has received five movie offers for one of them. Wills majored in psychology, not creative writing or English.
“I’m glad I did because if not I would have had to read a lot of books I don’t like,” Wills said. “I only read books I like.”
Wills has been writing since the 1960s. She was rejected 139 times before her first article was published. The rejections never suggested when or if she would get published, but it didn’t matter. She knew in her heart she would be published.
“Rejections are not the end of the line,” Wills said. “They are only the beginning.”
Her rejection letters continued even after being published, but she never gave up. In fact, they inspired her to write the award-winner “Damn the Rejections, Full Speed Ahead: The Bumpy Road to Getting Published.”
“You can make it, if you are that determined in your head that you will. You just need to see yourself doing it that’s how it’ll happen”, Wills tells her students.
She thinks that when someone has a vision of what they want, they will eventually accomplish their goals. She believes this applies to writers, actors, singers, and screenwriters.
Wills believes that regardless of the major, the desire to write is what matters the most. However, she suggests journalism for students who know they love to write. She also advises students to attend writing conferences, take creative-writing courses, expose themselves to any writing experiences, read often, be part of a critique group, and be willing to keep trying until they make it.
One of a writer’s biggest challenges is getting published. It is a reality of the business that writers must learn to overcome.
“See yourself getting there first and then you’ll find the way that takes you there. That’s always the way it has been,” she said.
Irvine Valley and Saddleback offer creative-writing and journalism courses. For more information check class schedules. For more information on Maralys Wills’ writing course, visit www.sce.edu or call (714) 808-4645 and ask for Novel Writing with Maralys Wills.